Reynolds have revamped their Performance line-up of carbon clincher wheels, with a wider rim, revised rim depths, external nipples and the addition of the firm’s Swirl Lip Generator technology on the Assault and Strike hoops.
Reynolds’ range of carbon clinchers is split into three collections: the top-of-the-range RZR hoops, the mid-range Aero hoops and the more affordable Performance line-up.
The Performance range is made up the low-profile Attack, the mid-depth Assault and the deep-section Strike, broadly pitched as climbing, all-round and time trial/criterium wheels respectively. All three were due a refresh and Reynolds say the Assault and Strike are approximately 35 per cent more aerodynamic than their predecessors.
All three wheels now have a wider, 25mm rim profile, growing from 21mm on the existing hoops. Wider rims are increasingly popular with wheel manufacturers owing to a claimed aerodynamic benefit, improved handling characteristics and more grip due to an increased tyre contact patch. The rim depths have also been revised, with all three now a little shallower, dropping from 32mm, 46mm and 66mm, to 29mm, 41mm and 62mm.
Reynolds chief Paul Lew is a proponent of a V-shaped rim profile for his aerodynamic wheels, claiming reduced drag and improved handling over the round, bulbous shape preferred by many manufacturers of aero hoops.
But while the Aero range uses Reynolds’ V-shaped Dispersive Termination Effect rim profile, the new Performance range features a rounder shape. The reason, they say, is to allow the Attack, Assault and Strike to use external spoke nipples while still delivering a similar aero benefit to competitor wheels, if not as greater advantage as Reynolds’ own Aero hoops. All Reynolds wheels to date have had internal spoke nipples hidden inside the rim but the switch to external, at the request of customers and dealers, will improve ease of serviceability.
The rim width and profile is only one half of the aerodynamic equation, according to Reynolds, with the Assault and Strike wheels also now using the Swirl Lip Generator technology previously only found on the firm’s more expensive wheels. It is, in essence, a small lip placed near the spoke face to smooth air flow and minimise pressure drag. The Attack is said to be too shallower to benefit from SLG.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. How much do they weight and how much do they cost?
The Attack – designed, Reynolds say, to attack when the road points skyward – is the lightest of the three, as you’d expect given the shallow rim depth. Claimed weight is 1,365g for the wheelset and retail price has been set at £1,199.99. The Assault wheelset, meanwhile, weighs a claimed 1,475g and costs £1,299.99, and the Strike tips the scales at a claimed 1,635g and will set you back £1,349.99. An Assault/Strike front/rear combination is also available for £1,349.99.
All four options will come with Reynolds’ Cryo-Blue brake pads, designed for use on Reynolds’ Cryogenic Glass Transition brake track to minimise heat build-up and deliver smoother, more predictable braking, and, more importantly, reduce the possibility of a rim failure. Reynolds are also now offering a new brake pad, the Cryo-Blue Power, as an upgrade, with a claimed 42 per cent increase in stopping force in wet conditions, and 33 per cent in dry conditions. The new pad has a 44 per cent larger braking surface and a tapered, aerodynamic design.
Three disc-specific wheelsets introduced for 2014
The Attack and Strike are available as clinchers only, while the Assault is also offered as a tubular and in the disc brake version pictured above.
The Assault SLG Disc increases the spoke count from 20/24 front/rear to 24 on both wheels, laced in a two-cross pattern to improve strength. The rim is also disc-specific, but the profile remains largely the same as the non-disc version, and there’s still the Swirl Lip Generator. The disc hoops come with an 85g weight penalty, increasing the claimed weight to 1,565g, and the price also rises by £50 to £1,349.99.
The Assault SLG Disc is part of a wider disc-specific road range for 2014, with two aluminium clinchers, the Stratus Elite Disc and Stratus Pro Disc, also available for early adopters.
The entry-level Stratus Elite Disc is a training wheel with a claimed weight of 2,090g and a £219.99 price tag, while the £699.99 Stratus Pro Disc sees a significant drop in claimed weight to 1,590g. Both are 26mm-deep.
Both aluminium wheelsets are also available in rim brake versions, with the Stratus Elite priced at £199.99 (1,920g claimed weight) and the Stratus Pro (1,445g), which has a tubeless-compatible rim, at £649.99.
New depth for Aero range
Finally, Reynolds have also added a 46mm-deep wheel to the Aero range.
Reynolds’ Aero hoops, which use the DET rim profile described earlier, were previously only available in 58mm, 72mm and 90mm depths, but Aero 46 has been introduced as a versatile, all-round option. Reynolds say the Aero 46 (claimed weight is 1,505g) is “equally at home in a criterium, road race, time trial or even of a ‘cross course”. Yours for £1,999.99.